Devotion to craft and service. Making a lot out of small spaces. Do one or a few simple things right. There is much to learn from how small business makes its way in Japan.
Andrew came across as one really good person. We met shortly before I snapped this street portrait of him, working as a surveyor assistant in NW Portland.
He found my old Nikon FE2 camera fascinating. I was delighted by his surveying equipment. There are many different photographies, a lot of ways to use light to make a picture. So, in a way, we were two comrades in photography outside working for the day.
Andrew is new in town. He moved to PDX from Austin, TX. He likes it a lot better here. The pace suits him and he thinks people are friendlier. Interestingly, he had no problem finding a job.
“There are A LOT of jobs here (in comparison to Austin),” said Andrew. “The south is just getting too damn hard to find work.”
Contextually, his statement was a curiosity to me. We hear a lot about how Oregon is allegedly a bad place for business and jobs.
In PDX, so many people relocate here for either a tech job in the Silicon Forest or to pursue something creative. The pickings for the creatives is often slim. Portland is a tough job market, in some respects, particularly for professional endeavors. Like most everywhere, we do have an underemployment and homeless problem.
Gentrification is also an issue in Portland. Andrew surveying – presumably for an architecture firm – in NW Portland, a place he unlikely can afford to live in, was irony not lost on me.
But, Andrew is right. There are jobs around, if a person is willing to work a trade. It might not pay the most or lead to a swanky downtown apartment. But, for something like surveying, it’s an honest living and for Andrew this is more than okay. I was reminded of honor in labor. It was refreshing to meet someone like him.
I went to Influence Music Hall in Hillsboro, Oregon for Open Mic Night not long ago. This place is cool for any town, let alone a small town not exactly known for its creative scene. Although, believe it or not PDXers, maybe that ought to start changing a bit for Hillsboro. At least on Main Street, anyway.
Located at 3rd and Main St., Influence Music Hall is a hole-in-the-wall room with good acoustics. Previously it was a small tire storage facility. Tire marks are still visible on the wall and ceiling. But really, the place seems like it was born for local music.
There are occasional concerts there, but every Friday night is open mic. Organized by the non-profit Tualatin Valley Artists, people from around the area (one guy was a rock singer from Norway!) come to play music, usually guitar, and also sing folk, rock, or anything they’ve composed. I’ve heard screaming punk rock there and heartfelt poetry, on the same night. There are various levels of ability, but that is not the point. It’s just a local place to hang out and play live music with friends, or the occasional stranger.
Not long ago I was there with my Nikon FE2 film camera. Without getting too technical the light is, to put it mildly, low-key. In other words, there is barely any light at all. And my old film camera does not have a strobe. I shot there with the aperture open all the way to f/1.8 on a 50mm prime lens. Exposures usually around 1/10 or 1/20 on ISO 400 TriX film, hand-held.
The photo you see is one of my favorites of the bunch. You can see more here along with some other film shots I’ve done for fun lately.